When Do the Checks Start After Social Security Disability is Approved?

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Question

I just had my hearing and it sounded like the judge was going to approve me for disabillity benefits. When will I start to receive my disability checks?

Answer

Just because a judge approves your medical eligibility doesn't mean you'll be approved for benefits. Social Security checks again to see that you still qualify for SSDI or SSI and that you are not working above the substantial activity amount. (Learn more about what happens to your disability claim after a judge approves it.)

But when you are officially approved, and you receive your Notice of Award from Social Security, it will have a section called "What We Will Pay You and When." This section will contain the date you can expect to receive your lump-sum backpayment check and when your regularly monthly disability benefits will start. You will usually receive your check on or around the date that is specified in the award notice. If you are expecting SSI backpayments, you will probably receive three SSI installment payments rather than one lump sum.

Once a Social Security disability claim has been approved and the award letter has been issued, payment is in the hands of a payment center. Can you call a payment center to check on your benefits to see when you will receive the check? Generally, no. The numbers for payment center modules are not given out by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to the public. In some cases, however, your attorney may have the number for the payment center and may be willing to call on your behalf. 

For SSI, payments are administered by the Social Security district office. SSI payments usually take longer to start than SSDI payments. 

If you haven't received your first disability check by the date cited in your Notice of Award, you should contact your local Social Security office.

Updated by: , J.D.

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